Sunday, July 27, 2014

Traditions In Denmark

How much do Americans really know about Denmark? In Denmark, great attention is paid to traditions and festivals, though without great ceremony. Many Danish traditions are based around the Christian calendar, with Christmas, Easter and St. John’s Eve (at the end of June) being some of the most important and typically spent together with family.

Other important celebrations include the carnival “Fastelavn” in February, New Year and Great Prayer Day, which was established to combine several traditional holidays into one day. There are also May Day (Labour Day) and April Fool’s Day, where Danes tease each other with pranks and outlandish stories. In recent years, Danes have also started to embrace both Valentine´s Day and Halloween.

14 february - valentine's day
In the early 1990s, the Danes began to celebrate Valentine’s Day as the great day of love, inspired by the American custom. It is especially the young and people in love who use the day as an occasion to show their love for each other. Hearts made of flowers, chocolate, pasta or cake are just a few examples of the available options.

1 April - April fool's Day
As in many other countries, the Danes also tease each other with fictitious stories etc on 1 April. The tradition, which dates back to the 17th century, has also been adopted by the big mass media and on 1 April newspaper readers and television viewers must therefore be particularly alert.

May - Mother's day
In Denmark, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Since 1929, it has been a widespread custom to please one’s mother with for instance a bunch of flowers. The custom, which originally had a social purpose, comes from the USA.

5 May - Denmark's Liberation 
After having been occupied by Germany since 9 April 1940, Denmark became free again on 5 May 1945. When the liberation was announced in the 8.30pm BBC broadcast on 4 May 1945, many Danes spontaneously placed lit candles in their windows. This became a custom that is still kept up by many Danes.

5 June - Constitution Day 
5 June is the anniversary of the coming in force of the first Danish Constitution, the June Constitution of 1849. The day, which in many places is a full or half holiday, is celebrated around the country with political rallies, which especially formerly were in the nature of popular festivals, for instance on the popular nature spots Himmelbjerget and Skamlingsbanken in Jutland. It is also Father’s Day, which was introduced from the USA in 1935.